How are we going to move out of this mess? It seems as if everyone is rapidly moving to claim some illusionary power over another group by wall building and isolation. What is public and flaunts itself as the main contractor of tirades, tantrums, and terrorism is hate. Hate moves across the construction site of tribalist groups, down to the shoveling areas of disaffected groups, and speaks with the crack of a whip, motivating these contracted men and women to build personal prisons by their own hands.
There is one onlooker at the top of the construction site of emotionally charged and exhausted persons. There is one onlooker who is so grieved by the detriment of hates influence and the willful participation of these persons submission to hates mastery, this onlooker chooses to step down into the rubble.
The stranger grabs a megaphone, clears his throat, and stops the work. The voice rings with a soul and rhythm which announces the words:
“God is my friend.
He made this world for us to live in.
And gave us everything…God gave us everything.”*
This life is a gift brothers and sisters. I don’t understand completely why we exist on this world and why we exist in our particular countries and neighborhoods. What I do know is what Marvin Gaye sang about, this world and this life is a gift to each and everyone of us. In the midst of all this strife and struggle, I think we all have forgotten this simple and yet profound truth, this world has been given to us. Like any gift, there is this expectation it would be honored and cared for with the same intensity of the giver.
What are we asked to do with this gift though? I mean there is an expectation and Mr. Gaye tells us about an expectation which reflects the reason for God giving us this world and each other.
“And all He asks of us, oh yeah
Is we give each other love, oh yeah.
Love your mother-She bore you
Love your father-He works for you
Love your sister-She’s good to you
Love your brother-Your brother”*
What are we to do? We are to love each other. Love should and must be public. It is so easy to respond to the lead contractor, hate. But what if we listen more intently to this new contractor who simply asks us to give love to each other?
Love has the opportunity to go public in two ways according to Dr. Howard Thurman. First, love can be seen between persons who possess some form of intimate relationship. These relationships can be marital, parent-child, friendship, or professional. Love publicizes itself for others to see affection, forgiveness, and affirmation.
Second, the public character of love acts to establish relationships between persons with vastly different life experiences. Here I am reflecting on persons of different ethnicities, political ideologies, or religious beliefs. Especially this time of extreme tribalism and isolation on the basis of skin color, political thought, or views about God. The atmosphere is ripe for genuine expressions of love. Expressions which are tables of diverse persons feeding on unique human perspectives and drinking the sweet wine of a common humanity. As the rapper Derek Minor commented,
“We all need love, joy, Jesus, and healing.
We got a lot in common if we would listen,
Instead of building more walls,
let’s build more bridges” (Derek Minor, Walls)
God in love gave us this world.
God ask us to love one another.
God ask us to build loving bridges to one another.
God’s love for us is so public he even went so far as to give us someone greater than the world.
God is love and so I believe we can be too.
*God is Love by Marvin Gaye